1. Do you have students who cannot type quickly? Wouldn't it be great if we could just let them type by talking? After all, they are good at talking! Well now you can! If you hop on over to the ITRT website and click on Jennifer Harrison's EDTech Digest from last Monday, she has a video on just how to do this. Watch her video and then print out this cheat sheet for a quick reminder. To get your copy of the cheat sheet, just click on the image.
2. Kids seem to know quite a bit about devices these days until something goes wrong. Then all of a sudden, they can't fix a problem. One problem they seem to have a HUGE issue with is rotating screens. Just when you thought you new how to fix your Windows machines when the screen was rotated, we move to Chromebooks and the process again is baffling. No problem, here is the solution for what to do if a student rotates a screen on their device. Push Ctrl + Shift + Refresh.
3. The best STEAM lessons require students to problem solve and breakouts are all about problem solving! For the next few weeks I will be sharing a different digital breakout you and your students can work on together. This week's is called 5 Little Pumpkins. Can you break out? Don't forget that your ITRT can come in and do a physical breakout with you at any time as well!
4. Another STEAM idea involves bringing in some playing cards and using them in all sorts of math games. When the games are over, let your kiddos see if they can build a structure out of the cards. I am amazed at how many children these days have never done this!
5. Friday at the Movies - What a great story starter this would be!!
1. I LEARNED SOMETHING NEW THIS WEEKEND! For a while now I have been thinking that there had to be a way to declutter my STREAM view in my classroom. So while I was working on a classroom I am creating to help folks earn their Google Level 1 Certification, I hunted for a means to do just that and finally had to reach out to our two Google Trainers in Amherst. And of course, because we have the best of the best, one of the was able to help me out. Thanks, Jennifer! So now I have created a Cheat Sheet so that you can clean up your STREAM as well! Just click on my image for a printable copy.
2. I also explored the new Priority and Work Space views in G-Suite. I love this and now have it as my default view when I open up Drive. This way it keeps the important files right at your fingertips. Here is a quick video I did to explain Priority View.
3. Years ago I worked with a wonderful Kindergarten teacher who lamented the fact that it was difficult to find digital math manipulatives. So I created some for her. I now have these on my drive and am sharing the folder with you . Once you have these files you can click on an image, copy, and then paste it into a document of your own so that you can use these in games, digital worksheets, etc. Click on the image to get to the folder.
4. Are you looking for STEAM resources for your classroom that correlate with the Standards of Learning? Have you checked your Clever portal yet? Go to the Amherst County Public Schools home page and locate Clever on the left. Open it with your Google logon and then find an application called EMedia. EMedia has reading articles, videos and even simulations that all support our standards. This would be a great place to pull in resources for your blended classroom!
5. Friday at the Movies - I have had lots of folks asking me about Maker Spaces and why are they important. Here is a great video that not only explains what they are but gives some suggestions for integrating them.
1. I saw this posted on a FB wall and just had to steal: "It's a Google World and we are just teaching in it." With that being said, today I would like to show you some Google search tricks I have picked up over the past couple of years. Most of these came either from my son or a student.
2. Here is a suggestion for writing. Help you students create a Blogger account. Blogger is not part of G-Suite but it is a partner with Google and your students can sign in with their Google user name and password. Years ago when I was in the classroom, my 3rd grade students were given permission to blog. Student get really excited to be writing for the real world. And you can set the privacy so that only certain people see the blogs.
3. Want the kiddos to play a game on a topic? Use this template to do so. This is not mine; it belongs to a person I follow on Twitter by the name of Alice Keeler. I love how she coded the slide show so that there are "dice" rolls available. Notice the word "dice" beside the word Help in the tool bar. Click here for your copy of this template.
4. Want to combine STEAM with reading? Try reading The Recess Queen by Alexis O’ Neill and then have the students work together to build a prototype of a the perfect playground.
5. Friday at the Movies - In honor of that Full Harvest Moon we had last Friday.
1. Google sells its very own interactive whiteboard. The issue is that it costs a great deal of money. You can read about the Jamboard here. Although the board itself is expensive, the good news is that the software that accompanies the board is free! The software is not nearly as strong as Smart's software but when I was messing around with it, I thought back to Microsoft's free paint program that it bundles on all its computers. This would be a great way to allow new Chromebook learners (I was thinking of our PK-ers and kinders.) Try it out and if you think of any great ideas for out older learners, please post them in the comments below. Jamboard can be accessed here.
2.. This week a colleague lamented that she missed the snipping tool on her Chromebook. Again, this is a program that Microsoft installs on all its machines. There is a way to snip on Chromebooks too! If you want to print the entire screen you need to hold he control key + the switch window key at the same time. A screen shot will be sent to your downloads file. To take just a partial screen shot, hold down the shift key = the control key + the switch window key at the same time. The cursor will turn into cross-hairs and you can click and drag around a portion of the screen to "snip it."
3. I created this document to help support place value lessons. This is based on a Montessori lesson I saw years ago in a colleague's kindergarten classroom. Feel free to click on the image to get your copy of the document.
4. I am so excited and am asking you to mark your calendars for March 3rd. Amherst County is hosting its very first division wide STEAM night. The theme of the night will be space. After all, learning has no boundaries! You will hear more about the evening as we get closer to the date. In the meantime, I am asking that you save and bring me some large boxes. I would like to build some photo booths and am planning to get some students to help. You can bring the boxes to the school STEAM/computer labs
5. Friday at the Movies - You know how much I love the Floppotron!!
1. Educators hate reinventing the wheel , that's why this tip that I have come across will be worth a million. You have put a great deal of thought into how you want to organize and set up your Google Classroom; and, it 's a pain to have to created and organize several classes. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could have a template for our Google Classrooms? Well guess what? We can! All you need to do is navigate to your Classroom dashboard, choose the class you want to copy. Click on the three dots you see in the right hand corner of the classroom icon and then choose copy. Before you do this you may be asking exactly what will copy and what will not. I found that items that will copy are the title of the class (you can change this afterwards), the section if you have noted one, the description of the classroom, the topics, and the course subject. Also, any assignments, questions, and quizzes will also be copied as drafts with no due date. You will have to go back in and edit these as you wish and schedule them to be posted. Things that do not copy over are students, co-teachers, teacher announcements, and any student posts on assignments and questions. Please feel free to reach out to your ITRT if you need help in setting up your perfect classroom and copying it.
2. Years ago Amherst had access to a tool called Inspiration. With budget cuts and upgrades of computer systems we lost that tool. When we moved to using Thinking Maps as a division, I often grieved the loss of Inspiration. I can stop grieving now as I have stumbled across a great tool that would make it easier for students to digitally create Thinking Maps using technology that Amherst Veteran Teachers will recognize closely resembles our old Inspiration software. The best part is that this FREE tool can store the maps of the students in their Google Drives!
3. As I was thinking about a Google doc idea that I wanted to share with you this week I was browsing through my resources and came across an online site that I had bookmarked. I pulled up this AMAZING site that has tons of hyperdocs. I am linking the page with the literature hyperdocs. Please browse this site and let your ITRT know if you would like to download one of these and tweak it to fit the needs of your classroom.
4. STEAM is not merely about engineering or making. STEAM is all about problem solving in creative means by combining the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art, or math. One idea is to bring literature into your math class. At this time of year we are focusing on place value. Here are some books you can begin with. All of these books can be found on Amazon. When you are finished reading, have your students show what they know by using life size base 10 blocks. Here is a site that shows you how to make them. So cool! BTW, the site that shows you how to make these blocks is geared for kindergarten. Please do not let that throw you. The hands on strategy can be used in any elementary grade.
5. Friday at the Movies - I really enjoyed Dr. Hodge's message at Convocation. I enjoyed it so much that I went to YouTube to see if he had uploaded it at some point in time. I found others that he had uploaded. This is one that I truly enjoyed.
We get a three day weekend this week!!! Yay us! I don't know if you are like me but as much as I love a new school year, by this time I am tired! The outside world will never understand how exhausting it is to teach little people new rules, routines, and protocols.
1. I have an absolutely FABULOUS tip for you this time. You have to check out the Chrome extension called Sir Links Alot. After installing you will see the icon for this extension in the upper right corner of your browser window. Clicking on the icon will open the tool. You can easily choose to share a link that will force the person with whom you are sharing to make a copy, see a preview, create a template, or turn your document into a pdf. I am in love with this extension!
2. One of the biggest gripes I hear about Chromebooks is that they don't have a caps lock key. I find this comforting to be honest as students will often hit the caps lock and then type everything in upper case. However, there is a way to turn on caps lock on a Chromebook should you need to do so. Click and hold the Alt + search (the magnifying glass or Assistant icon). The magnifying glass is in the place you'd look for a Caps Lock key. You'll see an arrow appear on the bottom right notifications bar and a pop-up will alert you that Caps Lock is on. Tap Shift to turn off Caps Lock.
3. Functions Machines are so much fun and a great way to make the kiddos think. Here is one I created. You are welcome to make a copy of this and changes the data to fit your needs. Click here to get your copy!
4. I love this engineering challenge I found using pool noodles! All you need are pool noodles, which are on sale this time of year and toothpicks. The directions, found on this site, have you cutting the noodles into same sized disks but I would make various sizes. This would be an amazing idea to combine with measurement!
Friday at the Movies - This is a video that many of us have seen before, but like a favorite book, I come back to it time and time again because truly, Every Child Needs A Champion
Hello! Welcome back folks! For two years I did a Five on Friday Blog. Last year, about halfway through, I got tired and decided to end it. Well, guess what! I missed my blog so this year, I made the decision to pick it back up. I hope the ideas I suggest are helpful to you. Please feel free to ask me to come help you at any time.
1. One of the items on my Five on Friday Blog that I want to share is a tip from G Suit. I had someone this week call me the Google Guru. Nope! Most of my tips I have stolen from other sources. This is an perfect example! At Central Elementary the School Counselor is using Google Classroom in the same manner as one would use a blog. She is sharing resources to support a curriculum the school is using called Mind Up. I love the unique way this tool is being used!
2. Google Keep is an app in G-Suit that I want to mess around with more this year. I have utilized this on a limited basis in the past; but, I want to delve into it more. I have a video below on how I have used it before but I recently read a blog that had several more ideas for this tool. In fact, on one site, there was a teacher who is using this as her daily planner. That is what I am going to explore. I will update you at the end of the school year on how I set mine up and how it worked for me. Here is the site though that had ideas for organizing yourself as a teacher using this tool: Technology for Teachers: Google Keep- A Busy Teacher’s Best Friend. If you need help in finding Keep, just let me know. By the way, the assignment in this video was purchased from an ITRT on Teachers Pay Teachers by the name of Brittany Washburn. This is an example of a simple assignment that could be done in Google Classroom.
3. I also plan to showcase a Google Doc each month that could be uploaded and used as a Classroom assignment. If the document is mine, you are welcome to make a copy and then change it to fit your needs. The document I am sharing this week is mine. Please click on the image to get your own copy. This would be a great brain dump for a review or use it as is to introduce our younger students to Classroom.
4. During the prep week I saw an email from someone (I don't remember the person) who was trying to get rid of Base Ten Blocks in her classroom. I LOVE Base Ten blocks! I was surfing the net one day in the past week and came across this idea for teaching place value by building buildings using Base Ten Blocks. Check out the site here and please call me in to help with this awesome idea!!!
5. Friday at the Movies- I love including a video on my weekly blog. Sometimes the video is only to make you smile. Sometimes I may feel like the video is a great story starter that would be a resource you could use with students. This one is sort of a sermon to me. I love this video! Sometimes I can get so caught up in trying to make the perfect lesson for the students that I forget to just have fun with the students. Maybe you are like me. It would be nice to think that someone else likes this video as well.
BTW, I do think this would work as story starter for an older grade. What would you want your older self to remember?
Nora Kluender is the Library Media Specialist at MHES. She recently shared this with the teachers there and I thought it would be a good resource to share with everyone! The American Library Association has put out its list of best tools for teaching and learning. Make sure you look at the bottom of the description to make sure it is grade/age appropriate.
Today in the STEAM lab has been so much fun! My room smelles soooo good! We had Christmas music playing. The "fireplace" has a roaring fire. I used the YouTube video linked below. Christmas play mats are on the table. I found some cute freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can click on the link to see what I used. I printed these out and put them under some old overhead transparencies that were put out at the beginning of the school year for the trash. STEAM teachers never throw anything away. Finally, we "programmed" playdough using the special code that makes the room smell like Christmas magic. Of course, my magical ingredient was peppermint flavoring! My code for the play dough is below.
Here are some pictures from our day. Our elves are having a blast!
1. Website of the Week - Festisite
This is a cool site that would be appropriate for grades 3 and up to make mini projects. One of my favorites is the Rebus Generator.
2. STEAM Idea of the Week - Thanksgiving STEAM
Momgineer is one of my favorite sites. I know I have shared it before. This week she is showcasing several idea for Thanksgiving. These would be good to support studies on Native Americans as well.
3. Resource of the Week - Fact Cookies
Use this drag, drop, and type Google Slide to have your students identify facts from a unit of study. To get your copy, click on the image and then click Make A Copy. Student directions are on the slide in the notes area.
4. Coding in the Classroom
I wanted to share a comment a student told me last week. They were having an inside recess time and he wanted to work on the coding portal that I have on my site. He was on a site coding site accessed through my site. He said the teacher told him he could not play on the site because it didn't look "safe." I wanted you to know that I have previewed all the coding games I have linked to my site. Each one is very safe and is a great way for students to learn problem solving skills. Please clip on the image to check out my site and feel free to book mark it for students to access during class times. Coding games make great anchor activities.
5. Friday at the Movies - Always one of my favorites!
Websites of the Week
1. I am absolutely enchanted with Mystery Doug. This FREE site has a new video each week that you can show your students to inspire questions.
2. Another amazing website I stumbled across this week was Freckle.com. This is a reinforcement and practice site. It covers skills like English, math, science, or history. I love that it has a teacher interface that allows you to keep tabs on student progress. It imports students from Google Classroom making getting students in a breeze!
3. This Week's STEAM Idea
This week instead of giving you step by step directions, I would like to share a site with you that has lots of different STEAM ideas. You need to check out Momgineer. The page I am linking you to is called Bird Beak STEM. This set of challenges starts with a choose your own adventure story. The choices the students make in the story affect what happens to the birds. Students not only get to learn about adaptations but also get to see how pollution interferes with an animal's habitat.
4. Weekly Resource
I found a great hyperdoc example online that centers around informational writing. I would love to work with you to create your own version of this. Third grade teachers, this could be used as is since you cover adaptations in science. To see the resource, click on the image to the left. You can then add to your Google Drive.
5. Friday at the Movies - Still love Michael!
Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools, located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus, I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler